Can’t We All Just Get Along

If Donald Trump ever had a true plan for governing this nation, it was simply to ensure he erased everything Barack Obama accomplished in his eight-year Presidency.

Now Trump will get a lesson in how it feels to watch everything you’ve done be abolished as Joe Biden announces his plans for tackling COVID, re-entering the World Health Organization, the Paris Climate Accord, overturning the Muslim ban and protecting DREAMERS.

Of course, Trump was motivated by a desire to erase from history the achievements of our country’s first Black President. He is a racist. If anything animated him besides fame, it is his hatred for anyone who isn’t white.

He is not dissimilar to friends I have who continue to vote GOP. They know individual Black people they like and accept because they confer on those people some of their own whiteness.

But Black or Brown people as a whole? Those are people to be demonized, labeled and held down.

And a Black person who has earned legitimate political authority and power, or fame and money in the corporate or entertainment world? They are to be especially loathed.

Someone I know from Church who was angry at Trump’s handling of COVID voted for him anyway. Why? Because Fox told her Biden was feeble and would end up being replaced by Kamala Harris, who is a “socialist.”

This is the same woman who bragged to me how much all the Black women in her Pilates class just adored her as a way of proving to me she didn’t have a racist bone in her body.

I ran this story by a Black woman lawyer I know. She just shook her head, rolled her eyes and said “Really?” This is something I imagine those Black women in that Pilates class would do.

I am not claiming to have tons of Black women friends. I do have a few with whom I lunch and have deep conversations about their lives and what life is like for them because of the color of their skin.

More importantly, I have a bi-racial great nephew. It is his future that concerns me, because as he grows older, instead of admiring how cute he is with his creamy complexion and expressive brown eyes, other white people will look at him instead with fear and suspicion.

They will not know his heart as I do, will not know his history of growing up and that those occasional flashes of anger he shows are for a white mother who chose her addiction over him and a black father he has never known.

They won’t care that he has grown up in small Texas towns, raised in a white environment but being constantly challenged by his white classmates who have been taught early to hate Black and Brown colored skin, taught to jeer at the sensitivity about himself his life circumstances have inculcated in him.

Most importantly, when he is grown and driving down the road and is pulled over for some infraction real or imagined, that Sheriff’s deputy really won’t care and will misinterpret him if he seems sullen or frustrated in that moment.

It is because we sort people by the color of their skin rather than accept them for their shared humanity that we are in the fix we are in.

It is because we brought Black people here in the cargo holds of ships in 1619 in chained enslavement that we are in the fix we are in. It is because we fought Brown skinned people for the right to live on this land we whites came to conquer with our sense of superior entitlement that we are in the fix we are in.

We have never dealt with the original sins of this nation, with the evil that they were. Now we have to reckon with what led us to hand the Presidency to someone as revolting as Donald Trump. A fascist and a bigot of the highest order.

Many people are thrilled in this moment because Joe Biden is our President-elect and Kamala Harris our Vice-President elect.

But no matter how much Biden calls on us to unify (and he should, loudly and often), it still falls on each of us to heed that call. To look past skin color, to deal with deep wounds and deeper inequities, to close our ears to partisan rhetoric designed to keep us divided as a nation.

It is up to each of us to decide we are all going to get along.

But it is past time for leaders from both political parties to model that cooperation for us.

Lincoln told us, paraphrasing the Bible, that a nation divided against itself cannot stand.

Trump came as close to anyone in our recent history at proving him right.

It is time now: time to stand or time to fall.

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